Tell this story about a girl who experiences the challenges and joys of growing her own garden.
Discussion point: The Holy Spirit helps us grow in patience.
Tell your children a story about a child who experiences the challenges and joys of growing their own little garden. Kids love these impromptu stories, especially if it fills the time during a car ride. Here is a sample story called “Kari's garden.”
Kari loved springtime because she loved looking for little green leaves sprouting out of the ground. One spring, Kari's mom surprised her by telling her that she could grow her own garden. Kari hoped that her garden could grow all kinds of wonderful things that she had eaten from her grandparents’ garden.
Soon, Kari's mother brought her to buy the seeds. “You can choose four different plants to grow,” Kari's mother explained. Kari decided to plant carrots, peas, and strawberries because they were her some of her favourite foods. She also wanted to grow some pumpkins because she loved the big leafy vines and the golden yellow flowers.
When they came home, Kari was ready to put the seeds in the ground. “Not so quick, sweetheart," her mom said. “First, we must prepare the soil so the seeds will be happy where you put them. We need to throw away old weeds and break up any hard clumps of dirt we find.”
After they had cleared the site, Kari was about to start putting the seeds in the ground, when her mom said, “Wait! We need to read the seed package and see how deep the seeds need to be placed in the soil.” Kari sighed. She was surprised how long it took to plant a garden.
Kari’s mother helped her measure one-cm-deep furrows in the soil where she planted the seeds. Then, Kari watered the carrot, the peas, the strawberry plants and each hill of pumpkins.
Now that the garden was finally done, Kari's mom went inside, and Kari stayed outside to admire her garden. She wondered how the seeds were doing and decided to check on the pumpkins. She dug a little hole where she thought the pumpkin seeds were. “I wonder if they liked the water. Maybe they are sprouting already,” Kari thought. Her mom looked out the window and called to Kari, “What are you doing, Sweetie? You just planted those seeds. Why are you digging them up?”
“Oh Mommy,” explained Kari, "I was just checking to see if they liked the water enough to sprout.”
“Gardeners have to be patient, Kari,” her mother replied. ”Your seeds will not start to sprout for a few days yet.” Kari sighed again and decided to go into the house. She had no idea gardens could take so long.
That night, Kari dreamed about her garden and the magnificent fruit and vegetables it produced. In the morning, Kari looked out the window and saw a patch of black dirt where they had planted the seeds. Kari had to wait for almost a week before any seeds sprouted.
Soon, the carrots came up. Kari thought they looked like baby carrots. Ever so carefully, Kari pulled one up. All she saw was a teeny tiny white root that didn't look at all like a baby carrot. Kari watched and waited for the pumpkin leaves to show too. It took a little longer for them to sprout, but Kari was proud of herself for not digging down into the hill to take a look.
Kari was not so patient with the strawberries. When one turned the slightest bit pink, she gently picked it and tried to eat it. She put it in her mouth, only to find she had to spit it out! The taste was so sour! Her mom saw Kari's reaction. She smiled and said, “I guess gardeners have to grow patience as well as fruits and vegetables.” Kari laughed, too.
Finally one day, Kari noticed the baby peas forming on the vines. “What cute little pods!” she thought. “Maybe I should open one to see what is inside.” Can you guess what she found? You can imagine Kari's disappointment when all she found were eight tiny peas, each the size of the head of a pin. “I am going to get really good at practicing patience this summer,” she told her dad when she showed him the miniature peas.
Tantrums don’t please God
Kari was also enjoying watching the progress on her pumpkin patch. Under each “female” flower, she would find a little green ball the size of a small marble. Her dad explained that when the bees took nectar from the “male” flower, its pollen would stick to the bee and pollinate the “female” flower so it could turn into a pumpkin.
Some days, Kari would wonder if the bees were doing their job. So Kari decided she could help them. She picked a male flower and sprinkled the pollen into the female flowers to make sure that little pumpkins would form. When her father saw her doing this, he called her his friendly little bumblebee.
“Dad,” she asked. “Does God think I am impatient because I am helping the bees do their job? Would He be mad?”
”No, honey,” he answered. “The kind of impatience that doesn't please God is the kind that comes along with stamping of feet, whining, crying or a combination all three called a tantrum.” Unfortunately, Kari knew exactly what he meant.
Fruit of the Spirit harvest
As fall came, and the pumpkins in Kari's garden were plump and starting to turn orange, something very good and very bad happened all in the same day. Kari's two-year-old cousin, Benny, saw her beautiful pumpkins and asked, “One for Benny?” After seeing how her dad had cut a pumpkin off the vine for her, Kari got the scissors and cut a nice, round pumpkin for Benny.
As they were walking towards the house to show his parents, Kari saw Benny throw the pumpkin on the ground. It splattered all over the concrete patio. Benny laughed, but Kari wanted to scream and cry and jump up and down and shout. The very good part of the day was that she didn't.
“Dear God,” she prayed, “please give me the same kind of patience that Grandma has.” Kari had tears in her eyes when the parents came out to see what Benny was laughing about.
“Ball broke,” laughed Benny. Then Kari started to laugh, too. Benny had thought the pumpkin she had given him was a ball. That is why he threw it on the ground. Kari was so glad that she hadn't been impatient and yelled at him. It had been an innocent mistake.
Later, when Benny was leaving to go home, Kari's mom helped her pick another pumpkin to send home with Benny. Kari explained that he was supposed to eat it, not bounce it. Benny laughed and said, “Tank oo, Kari. You are my best cousin!”
Kari's parents both gave her a big hug after their company drove off. “Kari,” said her mom. “I really do see that you are letting God grow one of the fruits of his Spirit in your heart.”
“Can you guess which one, Mom?” Kari asked.
Smiling, her mom said, “Let me guess . . . patience?” Kari smiled, too, and thought, “Dear God, thank You for growing patience fruit in my heart this summer!”